Women in the remote districts of Karnali region who are suffering from uterine prolapse now have a reason to cheer. The government is going to provide them airfare to visit properly-equipped hospitals for undergoing surgery.
According to officials at the Family Health Division (FHD) of the Department of Health Services (DoHS), the government will also provide the women free surgery, apart from the two-way air tickets.
“We have allocated a budget for providing airfare to women suffering from uterine prolapse so that they can visit the regional hospital, which is properly equipped,” said Dr Silu Aryal, focal person of the Safe Motherhood Program at FHD. She said that women from Humla, Mugu and Dolpa districts will get the air tickets starting this year.
According to Dr Aryal, FHD´s aim in providing the air tickets is to ensure quality care for the women.
The move comes following media reports about surgical complications, particularly in surgeries done at health camps held in remote villages. Several women who underwent surgery at the health camps had to seek repeated surgeries and the surgeries were performed without adhering to basic standards, according to the reports.
The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has also formed a probe team to investigate the media reports. The team found that in many cases surgeries were performed only for the sake of receiving the incentives provided. Moreover, the probe also found that surgeries were performed even on women who did not need the procedure.
Dr Aryal further said that FHD has cancelled all health camps for uterine prolapse surgery.
“We have cancelled all the camp surgeries. All women who need surgery will get the service at properly-equipped hospitals,” she said. She said uterine prolapse cases from three districts will be treated at well-equipped hospitals in Nepalgung and Surkhet.
Dr Aryal said that this year FHD has allocated a budget for carrying out 4,500 uterine prolapse surgeries across the country. The National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) that took place in 2006 found that up to seven percent of women of reproductive age were suffering from uterine prolapse. The study also found that over 600,000 women have been suffering from varying degree of uterine prolapse and 200,000 of them require immediate surgery.